A Farmerette was a nickname given to women who volunteered their labour to farms during World War One as a part of the Farm Service Corps.
Tag: 1919 Page 1 of 2
By Gregory Clark, December 6, 1919.
Discovery of British Scientists Is Confirmed by Toronto Observers of Returned Men.
May be Due to Bite of Mad Cootie
At Any Rate, It Is Contagious – Violent Outbreaks Followed by Elation.
British scientists have just discovered a new disease arising out of the war. It ranks with trench-feet. scabies, shell-shock, impetigo, profiteerosis, “p.u.o”, pes frigidus, “wind-up,” boils and cooties as medical discoveries of the war; subjects on which there was some little information prior to 1914, but which were really discovered, in the true sense of the word, only during the war, when medical science had for the first time a large body of men entirely at its mercy. The new disease is called Fellophobia, and means “hatred of one’s fellow men.”
British medical men define fellophobia as akin to hydrophobia which is caused by the bite of mad dog. Certain branches of the profession are trying to trace the new disease to the bite of a mad cootie while others are attempting to lay the blame on rats; and yet others on the biting remarks of mad company sergeant-majors.
Fellophobia is found among returned soldiers in varying degrees of malevolence. The reports from England cite the following cases.
A young man, formerly of very amiable disposition, who rose to the rank of sergeant in the war, has come home a changed man, with frequent periods of his old good humor, but with regular outbreaks of a very violent nature over the most trivial incidents, during which he shouts in an alarming manner, stamps his feet, and stands in corners, muttering unintelligible things to himself. This sad transformation is credited to the dread germ of fellophobia.
Another man, formerly a stock broker, clubman, and general good sport, enlisted cheerfully as a captain, and served for four years as an R.T.O., that is, Railway Transport Officer. On returning to civil life, he is a changed man. He is a cynic, a pessimist, and a crank. He, too, is given to those violent outbreaks, in which he shouts and roars, and orders everyone about, including his own family, in a most arbitrary manner. The doctors are at a loss to account for this patient’s trouble as he was never exposed to the dangers of lice, rats or sergeant-majors, he having been stationed throughout the war at Boulogne. From this case, it is suspected that fellophobia is contagious.
Has fellophobia raised its sinister head in Toronto yet?
While Colonel McVicker and other local military medical men have not yet encountered the disease by that name, symptoms that bear a suspicious resemblance to it have been observed.
Dr. A. H. Abbott, secretary of the Citizens’ Repatriation League, while stating as his opinion that the war has sweetened and broadened with humor the tempers of soldiers as a whole says that he has met individuals suffering from something very like fellophobia. An Irish soldier came repeatedly to the Citizens’ Repatriation League to demand a loan of money for a sick wife. Now, matter of fact, the officials of the League knew that this man’s wife not only was not sick but that, being separated from her husband, she was never better in her life. The officials therefore consistently refused the money. One day, without any warning this Irishman developed violent symptoms and struck one of Dr. Abbott’s assistants a fierce blow on the ear.
Major F. N. Kippen, D.S.O., M.C. of the Government Employment Bureau for professional and technical returned men, says he has encountered considerable numbers of men undoubtedly suffering from the new disease.
“The disease,” said he, “seems to be aggravated when the sufferer meets former adjutant or sergeant-major in civilian clothes. The germs seem to be deeply affected by these two types and create a fever in the victim. He glares at the former adjutant or sergeant-major, the fellophobia often causing him to abuse them in a most shocking manner.”
Followed by Elation
Mr. Arthur J. Monk, also of the Employment Bureau, adds to Major Kippen’s observations the following:
“Yes, but the outbreak of violence on meeting a former adjutant or sergeant-major is immediately followed by a period of great elation, amounting almost to hysteria. The patient seems seized with a paroxysm of delight. He smiles as if to split his face, and immediately rushes around in search of his friends. It is just as if he had got a weight off his chest.”
Another prominent military man expresses the alarming opinion that practically all soldiers are affected to some extent by fellophobia.
“I know five Colonels in Toronto for example,” says this gentleman. “During the war, while undoubtedly showing symptoms of some kind towards their subordinates, these Colonels were most devoted admirers of their Brigadiers and Divisional Commanders. Nothing pleased them more than to be invited to tea with the Brigadier or to be seen riding with him in the rear areas. And the opportunity of even a moment’s chat with the Divisional Commander was enough to put these Colonels in a good humor for a week.
“But, now, how different! On the slightest provocation and often without excuse, these Colonels will go into a frenzy over their Brigadiers and Divisional Commanders. They call their Brigadier a dud and their General an unmitigated fat-head. They swear the Brigadier couldn’t have held his job but for his battalion commanders. And as for the G.O.C., he was just a plain ass, kept in position by pull.”
True of All Ranks
“This,” says our military man, “is true of all ranks. Majors curse their colonels, captains their majors and lieutenants their captains, except in rare instances. And the rank and file curse the whole tribe of officer.
“If it is fellophobia, then the medical profession should lend every effort to isolating this terrible germ before it embitters our whole life.”
It is feared that fellophobia, being contagious, has already affected a number of men who have not been in the army at all. The manager of a well-known manufactory in Toronto is given to spasms of the disease whenever he sees an ex-soldier. The moment a returned man in search of work puts his nose in at this manager’s door, the manager is overcome by a peculiar sort of rage, and he leaps to his feet, shouting:
“No! No! To h— with returned soldiers!”
It is believed that this man contracted the disease from some of the many returned soldiers who have applied to him for work.
Other civilians closely affiliated with soldiers, such as the young men and women stenographers employed by the D.S.C.R., seem quite as susceptible to fellophobia as soldiers themselves. Simple questions, such as: “At what time does the director come in from lunch?” cause these originally genial and gentle people to fly into uncontrollable pets.
Personally, I am of the opinion that the cootie to responsible for fellophobia. To It has been traced trench fever, “p.u.o.”; impetigo, scabies and dugout-insomnia.
If the medical profession is interested, I may say that I have discovered an old comrade-in-arms who has brought back with him a very fine colony of these insects in good condition for scientific purposes.
Editor’s Note: Some of the real diseases mentioned that affected soldiers in World War One are “puo” (Pyrexia of Unknown Origin), Impetigo (a skin rash) and dugout insomnia (a general insomnia no doubt from the fear of being attacked).
As World War One had just ended, the Star Weekly would ask returning soldiers to write in with stories from the war. There would be cash prizes each week ($10 for first prize, $5 for second, and $1 for up to five other stories). ($1 in 1919 would be about $14 in 2021). The first and second prize stories this week also had an illustration by Jim. The first was about a sentry that was scared of a “ghost”, and second was about an atheist who successfully rescued a wounded man in no-man’s land where 3 others had failed, but ended up being the only one killed of the 4 moments later by a falling shell.
By Gregory Clark, December 20, 1919.
The regiments are disbanded.
Their banners droop in the dusty shadows of silent churches.
Forty-eight battalions of infantry and a thousand guns, Canada’s historic army, scattered and stilled; and the comic lords of Peace decree it shall never assemble again, that it was a temporary army for a temporary war; and that its memories and its comradeships must be washed out, to make way for the gallant militia–
But to-night, and the coming four nights till Christmas Eve, those mighty battalions and shouting guns live again in the hearts of three hundred thousand men.
In the little homes and the great homes, men are sitting by the firesides, seeing visions.
They see again the narrow thoroughfares of Houdain, or Mazingarbe, Poperinghe, or Camblain l’Abbe.
The winter evening is falling. The little grey shops begin to glow with furtive lights. There is snow on all the steep roofs.
Men in khaki, muffled in greatcoats or leather jerkins, stamp over the frosty cobblestones. At the door of a crowded estaminet, a little group, amid much laughter and jovial profanity, gathers in a circle to sing a Christmas carol, entitled “Mademoiselle from Armentieres,” or perhaps “I Want to Go Home.”
A French girl, muffled in a huge scarf, with a basket on her arm, shuffles down the cobblestones.
“Merry Christmas, mamzelle!” cry all the troops
A limber comes clattering out of the darkness. It is laden with huge sacks. Atop sits the post corporal, who shouts:
“Nothing but parcels, boys! Seventeen bags of parcels from home!”
Suddenly, a bugle thrills the crisp air. It is not “retreat,” nor “last post.” It sounds the “fall in!” But this unusual call seems to be expected, for the estaminets empty as if by magic, the cobbled street is crowded with men hastening to their company parade grounds.
The street becomes deserted. A silence descends. Then, from down at the village square, the sudden clear music of the regimental band rises up.
Presently the band comes closer in the darkness, and swings past, playing a rousing march. Behind it comes “A” company, and then “B.” The men are singing and laughing as they pass. They are without arms or equipment. To the French people who have come to their doors to see the sight, the boys cry out greetings, “Oo, la lal” and “Voulez-vous promenade?”
The battalion marches to the far end of the town. Spirits mount. There is a note of expectancy over all.
Band still playing, the battalion halts outside a great red-roofed barn rising out of the dusk. And, forming single file amid much loud, confused shouting of commands, the troops begin to enter.
Inside is fairyland. A thousand candles light up the scene. Long tables fill the great barn. The padre has garnished the bleak walls and cross-beams with evergreen. Flags and bunting drape the corners. And a smell, O! an overwhelming smell of roast pork and apple sauce, of plum pudding and rum punch, fills the cold bar with warmth.
Then up jumps the padre on a barrel. Silence is called for. And the padre, says that brief Army grace: “For what we are about to receive, thank God!”
The band plays “God Save the King.” In tumble the sergeants and corporals laden with steaming dixies. And the Christmas banquet is on.
Faint echoing crashes come from afar, but are drowned by the band and the singing. Green and white flashes flicker along the eastern sky, but the boys are safe in the light of the thousand candles.
There is pork and apple sauce and music. There is rum punch and speeches and more music. Then the band plays some of the old tunes and everybody sings. The smokes are passed around. A boy from “C” company with the voice of an angel sings “Roses of Picardy,” and everybody, even the old regimental sergeant-major, harmonizes on the refrain–
Outside, a pallid moon smiles down on the wintry little grey village, and the old village smiles back. For in a thousand years these two have looked upon many a company of soldiers singing by the wayside; not the same songs, but the same sentiments with the same hearts and the same high fellowship of romance.
Down this cobbled street Francois Villon has ridden, soldier, adventurer, poet; and Villon, four hundred years ago, sang-
“Where are the comrades of yesterday?
The winds have blown them all away.”
Have they? Not to-night!
Nearly Everybody Around Yonge and Front Seems to Carry a Handbag.
Govt. Dispensary Sells Alcohol, Too
Far More Sick People Requiring Prescriptions on Saturday Than on Other Days.
By Gregory Clark, November 1, 1919.
Looking at the passersby at the corner of Yonge and Front streets, one would conclude that about seventy-five per cent of them were traveling salesmen. For they all carry some sort of a little hand-bag. The little square miniature suitcase is the favorite style. But the variety runs from the plain old family valise down to the homely sateen shopping bag.
The style of bag doesn’t matter, so long as it will contain one quart bottle of whiskey.
For this stream of apparent salesmen is nothing less than the eight hundred daily customers of Ontario Government Dispensary, No. 1, of 29 Front street east.
Eight hundred to a thousand customers a day is the average run on this, the leading Government liquor store in the Province. And one quart of whiskey is the average purchase. Saturday the customers average as high as 1,700 to 2,000. Thus we an arrive at the conclusion that Toronto consumes per day about one thousand one hundred quarts of liquor from this source.
The Government Dispensary on Front street is one of two in Toronto, the other being at the corner of Dundas and Dovercourt road. It is one of seven in Ontario, the others being one each in Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton, London and Windsor.
But the Front street shop, which is the liquor headquarters of the Province, does fifty per cent of all the business of the Province, or as much as the six other shops put together. This includes not only the large daily trade over the counter to Torontonians, but also an immense mail order trade, the liquor being shipped by express to all points in the Province.
But this liquor headquarters hath a mild and orderly appearance, for all its activity. The shop itself is no larger than the liquor shop of the bad old days. One wall is entirely covered with shelves full of liquor. The back of the shop is occupied by three little cages, labelled, “Censor” and “Cashier.” The main part of the room is nicely railed off with iron bars like the approach to the ticket booths at the Exhibition.
The customer on entering the shop is directed into the railed runway by a Provincial policeman, who keeps order to the shop. The runway leads to the censor’s cage.
The censors, much to the customer’s astonishment, are not fierce and skeptical old men, but demure and dainty young ladies.
The customer produces his “doctor’s prescription” for one of these fair young censors to look at. She gives it a once over and stamps it. The customer moves on to the cashier’s cage and pays the price of his liquor. Then he reaches the counter, where three busy salesmen are at work. One of these takes the customer’s prescription, skewers it on a file and hands out the quart of whiskey, gin, wine or pure alcohol, as called for.
Then the customer slips his bottle into the little hand-bag and emerges into the open with the keen expression of a stationery salesman looking for business.
It is amazing to watch the lineup of patients at Store No. 1. There are the elderly, dignified old business gentlemen and the poor draggled, old washerwomen; rakish, tilt-hatted toughs in their dancing clothes, and slim, cool-eyed young business men, who have been smoking cigarets for two years; rich, poor, old and young.
Here comes a furiously-bearded old foreigner in a frock coat.
“Vishnick!” he cries, hoarsely, to the Provincial Policeman.
Foreigners Get Alcohol
“Vishnick’s all gone,” says the young lady censor.
” Vishnick! Vishnick!” yells the old man, violently, waving his special prescription from the rabbi.
“Fini” shouts one of the cashiers, who wears a returned soldier button.
And the prophetical-looking old man is ushered out, hoarsely roaring “Vishnick!”
Here comes a poor, seedy little old man with the marks of the demon on every part of his frail old form. And he assumes a jaunty and assured air that fits him ill.
He presents his prescription to the fair censor. She gives it the critical eye, apparently finds something amiss with it, and calls the Provincial Policeman over to look at it.
The little old man’s assurance begins to fail him, but he demands in a quavering voice, “What’s the matter wiff it?”
The moment the Policeman turns his back to go and telephone the doctor whose prescription this purports to be, the little old man wheels, and with remarkable agility, makes a lightning exit, and returns no more.
Here come two high-cheeked sandy mustached Russians, who each secure one quart of pure alcohol.
This mystery we later discuss with Assistant Deputy Chief of Police, Robert Geddes.
“Surely,” we protest. “It is as plain as day that those Russians get that pure alcohol for no other purpose than to manufacture more liquor in illicit stills!”
“Possibly, possibly!” replied the Assistant Deputy. “But you must also take into consideration the racial peculiarities of the Russians. They take a thimbleful of this pure alcohol and hold it in their mouths till their eyes pop from their sockets and their heads are bathed in sweat. That cures all their ills. Furthermore, the Russians mix alcohol with their porridge, soup, and other foods. Very nourishing, they say.”
From the above facts, the following truths appear to arise:
That one out of every five hundred men, women, and children in Toronto require one quart of whiskey per day for the relief or cure of disease, at a doctor’s order.
That on Saturday there are twice as many sick people who require whiskey as there are on other week days.
That Russians are a peculiarly constituted people, whose ailments are better treated with pure alcohol than by whiskey or gin. There were sixty-nine quarts of pure alcohol sold last Saturday, part of it to Russians.
These things we took to Chief License Commissioner J. D. Flavelle.
With regard to the young lady censors, he said:
“They are supplied with copies of all doctors’ signatures. They can censor quite as well as any man could.”
With regard to the selling of liquor to doubtful-looking customers and of pure alcohol to foreigners, Mr. Flavelle said:
“We have no responsibilities whatever in that regard. We have simply to carry out what the doctor’s prescription calls for. The responsibility for the amount of liquor and for the sale of the liquor rests wholly upon the doctors of Ontario.”
Twice a month the Dispensary furnishes the Board of License Commissioners with a complete list of sales, showing the number of prescriptions issued by each doctor. These records are kept on file, and are open to the inspection of the Provincial Government.
Editor’s Notes: This article shows the craziness of early prohibition in Ontario. People would need doctor’s notes for purchasing alcohol for “medicinal” purposes, but obviously people were breaking the rules. Everybody knew it was nonsense, hence the mocking tone of Greg’s writing about the “patients”, and “sick people”, and how everyone wanted to hide from others that they were buying alcohol by carrying their little bags. It is also a little racist, pointing out that “foreigners” or “Russians” can buy pure alcohol, and the assumption is they are up to something illegal. I was also struck with how few stores initially existed, with the rest of the province having to rely on mail-order, not unlike the roll-out of legal cannabis in Ontario in 2019, 100 years later.
“Vishnick”, or Vishnyak is a cherry liqueur popular with Eastern European Jews at the time.
Jim produced two illustrations for a selection of short anecdotes that were published in the Star Weekly from submissions from veterans of the Great War. The newspaper offered cash prizes. The first illustration was from the first prize ($10) winner “Captured by the Relief”.
The second illustration was from the second prize ($5) winner “Huns Behind our Lines”. All other winners of stories published received $1. $1 in 1919 is about $13.50 in 2020.